Tag Archives: BBC Radio 4

Listen Up. BBC at Best.

17 Oct

Me n’ mine have been asked to feature in the BBC’s ‘Listening Project’ on a few occasions. Thanks largely, to the matters that involve my family’s background, experiences, international work, kids and views on consumerism – and of course, our proclivities for nude rambling across the Trans-Pennine Trail … ok, ok – I’m joshing about the latter.


*DO* Listen.

But even before I ended up getting roped into recordings, I have to say that this small-but-mighty stakeholder project born of The Beeb has captured my imagination over the last few years – simply as a mere radio fan. But it also, always seems to stoke-up the fires of many others than I know, who have the sense to prefer the radio to the telly.

And yup – I love listening to the conversations of others. What writer/ person with a half-baked intelligent brain *doesn’t*? This is what the entire series is about. Ear-wigging. Nosey Norman Neighbours.

But every single episode is always so beautifully edited – that we always come away with a little nugget of summat or t’other. And today’s little clip? Well.  If there was ever a justification for paying for the existence of the Beeb (licence fee… cough … splutter…) today’s episode was the flagship for the entire thing.  A ‘Ruddy Dobber’ of a programme (as we say in Manchester.)

So my own wee friendies from all over the world – have a listen to this snippet of today  –  entitled “We’re Still Friends”. This conversation could have taken place in my kitchen. With various friends and family members.  All about Brexit. Why some of us wanted to get the hell out. And others of us felt horrified at such a prospect.

And I’m proud of the fact that I have pals in my life who have completely different views to me on the entire issue. So yes, it doesn’t bother me too much that I hang about with gorgeously-warm folk whose views sometimes make me want to, er, er …  reach for the Fizzy Andrews. (Hey – do they make *that stuff* anymore? I always think of it as cocaine – for 6 year olds.)

So, whatever your thoughts on Brexit, Europe, refugees, feminism etc. Just make it a priority to listen to this one clip only. (And MORE please, if you enjoyed the link here  – just have a perusal of the main website. Treasures for all!)  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07z3zfy

For me the key word on this particular broadcast is that of ‘Listening’. Backed up by ‘Friendship’. Closely followed by ‘Show Don’t Tell’. Listen to the emotions and the clarity in the voices of these two women from Donny (Doncaster) and how the real ‘listening’ and tolerance seems to be pointing towards a new direction for them as friends.

They’re listening and learning to and from one another. No sanctimonious attitudes or smart-arse-isms going on there. (I keep expecting to hear that Quakers are running this entire project  – but apparently not. Still. I’m biased.)

And – ooh yeah – let’s give a high-five to certain BBC Radio producers and journalistic-sorts.  The skill of recording and archiving oral testimony, and editing it for both needy and discerning listeners, is alive and well at the Beeb and at its regional stations – and on this particular long-running project – is showing right here and right now – at its top-notch best.


Bless the BBC and Radio. Especially this here Sheffield studio

Bless the BBC and Radio. Especially this ‘ere Sheffield studio


Theft of a Feathery Friend

3 Apr

The greatest pleasure of having children is when they Achieve. With a capital A. When they come home with straight A’s, get into the ‘best school’ and then ‘choose’ that highly respected or  financially lucrative career path that you’ve been not-so-subtly prepping them for.

Ah yes. Nothing more rewarding than when you finally see the results of the hard work that you’ve invested in the little swines and you can sit back, feel smug and crank yourself up to another level of living vicariously through them.

OK, OK –  I’m being really sarky now. The truth. For me, the greatest pleasure is when your child finally begins to understand a much more sophisticated level of humour and when you can begin to have a proper belly-laugh together (although I’m sure that some critics would point out that there is an element of surrogation in wanting your offspring to share your own preferred brand of humour.)

Nicholas Parsons has dyslexia too (but the 10 yr old was a huge fan of the hilarious 'Just A Minute' long before we knew this.)

The hilarious Nicholas Parsons has dyslexia too (but the 10 yr old was a huge fan of ‘Just A Minute’ long before we knew this.)

So, yeah. I’ve noticed recently that my 10 year old is enjoying the laughs a lot more these days. And  this is of particular importance for me because – as I have blogged here before – for dyslexic children, humour can be a tricky subject; the brain has a tendency to locks itself into the literal meanings behind the words and to focus on literal imagery.

So here’s a little conversation that demonstrates that we are getting there. Not quite there…. but certainly en route to sharing some more ‘mature’ family jokes.

7 YR OLD LAD: Mum, you can’t come and stay at Uncle Pete’s with us. There’s gonna be no one to look after Elvis [nb. Elvis is our budgie. In case you were thinking that The King really is alive and living in a terraced house in west Yorkshire.]

ME: Oh, Elvis will be fine. We’ll top his seed and his water up. He’ll enjoy the peace.

7 YR OLD: Noooo!  We can’t leave him! What if he gets kidnapped?

ME: Actually, that’s a good point. We should really be on our guard against those pesky budgie-smugglers, eh?

(Both daughter and her dad erupt into laughter.)

Those pesky budgie-smugglers after our Elvis.

Those pesky budgie-smugglers are after our Elvis.

HER DAD: HaHaHa! That’s a classic! Your mother is unusually quick witted today!

10 YR OLD: Hoooh yeah! Budgie smugglers! So funny!

HER DAD: Yeah. But hang on (to daughter.) How did you know what the term ‘budgie smuggler’ means?

10 YR OLD: Oh – the radio was on last week and I heard someone say ‘there’s lots of budgie smugglers about these days’ so I panicked. And Mum had to explain to me what it really means.

HER DAD: Ah, right.

10 YR OLD: Yeah. But I still don’t get why blokes would want to put budgies down their underpants. Men are so weird.

7 YR OLD: Oooh yeah! It would be all scratchy and nip-nippity-nippy wouldn’t it?

It's men like this that our feathered friends need to be very wary of.

It’s men like this that our feathered friends need to be very wary of.


POST-SCRIPT- Regular readers will know that I like to use my own photos as much as possible for this blog and I did consider asking my other half to pose for the budgie-smuggler photo. But I knew that he would then start getting a bit silly and start trotting out things like “Yeah, but in my case we’d have to rename them ‘Mynah Bird Smugglers or ow about RaptorPants?”  So I thought that I’d give that one a miss.